484 of 533 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
First off, let me say that I am biased to this particular comic book character. I've been a fan since the late '80s and have wanted a film adaptation for a long time. I am not saying that I am pre-disposed to like this film. In fact, quite the contrary is true. I'm not only coming at this from the point of view of somebody who wants to see a good movie, but as somebody who will be judging this by its adherence to and respect for its source material.
I've been disappointed before. The Stallone version of the '90s failed this test on both counts. In fact, the only thing that movie got right was a few beautifully rendered hyper dense scenic shots of Mega City one. This film didn't have those shots. In fact, the scenic shots of the city didn't seem that dense at all...yeah there were tall building....but spaced far apart. It seemed almost like a quaint small city trying to be a big one at the edge of a dessert. That is...until we are taken inside the city.
This is one of the real coups the film pulls over on us. A few quick shots of the area around these mega blocks (big...REALLY big...More then twice the size of the Twin Towers big) reveal some familiar (especially if you are a New Yorker) buildings that frankly look like kids toys in comparison. When we are informed that the city has over 800 million people covering a land mass that stretches from Boston to DC, you have to intake air when you realize the true scale of the shots looking at the city from the dessert.
We are quickly given a day in a life type story focusing on two characters who have an importent yet oddly impotent job in the city. To maintain order. And it doesn't take too long until we realize how futile that task is in a city so enormous.
The plot details are somewhere along the lines of a Die Hard film from that point on, but the feelings this setting evokes in us are more akin to District 9. It's an all together beautiful and disturbing combination the filmmakers utilize quite adeptly.
At some point we are inside one of these big blocks, and the Judges (a hybrid cop/judge given powers to dispense instant justice) we are following through their sadly ordinary day had to shoot lots of people and utter caustic lines like "Defense noted" or "you have ten seconds to comply".
Did I mention lots of people get shot? Well... let me put it this way: LOTS of people get shot. And we are not spared one ounce of gore when this happens.
The film never really lets up, rather it moves at a brisk pace as our protagonists go about their job. The titular Judge Dredd is the experienced mentor, putting Judge Anderson through the ropes here. For those of us familiar with the comics, these are the two biggest characters in the world of Mega City one. While Anderson does go through changes, this film gives us a bit of her origins (placing this story actually BEFORE the comics really take place). While she goes from barely competent and wishy washy cadet to the beginnings of the kick ass PSI Judge we all know and love, Dredd himself never breaks a sweat. In fact, you get the sense that this particular day was no better or worse for him then the day before or the day after. His actions in the last scene of the film really hammer this home.
This characterization is what really makes the film work. The sense that this is the norm in this city informes us of the prevailing fatalism that must soak into every citizen. It is a very bleak dystopian view of the future, that sadly looks all too understandable and real. We are never told how the human race came to be in those cities, or why they still exist there. It's only that they ARE there. And it's left up to us to fill in the importance of that.
203 of 234 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
Excellent movie for the budget. The spirit of Dredd is here in spades. It is not perfect but bloody imaginative.
First the camera work is fantastic. This is really a film to see in 3D. Not because of fancy Hollywood CGI but because of brilliant artistic imagery.
MegaCity looks European in the visuals and vistas but maybe for Americans the vans and cars just look weird. So it works!
Pete Travis' direction is solid and Alex Garland's script is informed and funny. Would loved to have heard Dredd say "Drokk" just once!
Karl Urban is Dredd. He needs to be warmed too but he plays the part very well. Olivia Thirlby is also excellent as Anderson. Lena Headey is very convincing in her Motherly role.
I do hope this becomes a franchise. Dredd is as important as Bond. Show him some respect.
87 of 100 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Dredd was a box office flop. It grossed roughly $31 million world wide. The budget was, according to typical Hollywood standards, a paltry at $50 million. By all rights, it was a box office flop.
But here's the problem - it's a brilliant film that deserves to be seen!
Forget Sylvester Stalone and love interests. This is Dredd as he is MEANT to be - violent, satirical and rough. And the Dredd movie captures this is spades.
No visual artifacts, no weird compression issues. There is some noise in the 2D version (and I've read the 3D version doesn't have this issue, but I have no 3D TV to test), but I didn't find it overly distracting.
AVC 1080p transfer in 2.4:1 aspect ratio, as originally shot.
WOW. They knock this out of the park, no question. The use of surround sound, in a way to enhance the film, is unquestionable. It's not just sound effects and ambient noise that makes the film, and the proper spatialization really contribute to the enjoyment of a film, and Dredd really does shine here.
My audio review is only for the 7.1 version of the DTS-MA mix. I don't have Neo:X compatible hardware, nor enough speakers, to use it. Even still, the sound is simply spot on.
For a film that tanked theatrically, I expected light extras. I was pleasantly surprised that they saw fit to add about 40 minutes or so worth of extras to the film, and I actually took the time to watch them all.
Mega-City Masters is a look at the origins of the source material, looking back at the 35+ years of Dredd. Does a good job introducing the character and the background of his creation.
Day of Chaos - is a look at the visual effects and how they were created. They look at how they composited and used limited sets to create an incredibly large platform for the film.
Dredd Featurette - promotional material
Dredd's Gear - quick look at the weapons and equipment of Judge Dredd
The Third Dimension - filmed in 3D, with a 3D intent, they take a look at the creation of the 3D effects of Dredd
Welcome to Peach Trees - quick look at how they created the Peach Tree building
Dredd Motion Comic Prequel - 3 minute motion comic that quickly covers the back story to the film. Nothing amazing, and doesn't use the original cast for voices, but worth a watch
Trailers - these don't really count as extras, do they?
Dredd, the film, is gritty, violent and satirical. Karl Urban performs admirably as the venerable Judge Dredd and delivers the lines with believability and, honestly, when I think of Judge Dredd, it will be difficult to see him as anyone other than Urban. He fit the character and the styling perfectly. It helps that he seems to wear a perpetual frown, a bit of a requirement for anyone wanting to be Judge Dredd.
It's immensely disappointing that Dredd didn't perform better theatrically - it desperately deserves a sequel. At least we can say that what we received was treated with care and respect to the source material and is a worthy look at a film version of Judge Dredd. We may never see this again, which is a shame, but heck, at least we get something treated as it deserves in terms of presentation.
250 of 301 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
It is an utter crime how this movie flopped at the box office. To be honest I had no idea what to expect when I entered the theater to see this movie. Initially i wanted to go see "Looper" but for some reason at the time I was in the mood for something less cerebral, so me and my buddy chose to see Dredd 3D after a class mate told me to check it out and that it was phenomenal. My God, I was completely blown away! I was so blown away that I went to see it again immediately the next day!
You can tell the director of this film really cared about the project. I felt his heart and soul within every composition and frame. Before this film I use to be anti-3D but after I saw this, it completely changed the game for me, yes even more than "avatar" did. This was the first time I felt that the only way to experience this film was in 3d. even though this film failed at the box office, i feel as if i was part of something special because i was one of the few who saw it in 3d at the theaters. All those people who are going to rent it or buy it on DVD/blu ray will be missing half the experience in my opinion. Too bad for you guys!! And if there ever was a movie that would consider me to covert my home theater into 3d, it is this one.
The way the film makers utilized slow motion was the best I have ever seen since the "Matrix", maybe even better. Lately I've hated the way recent films have used slow mo, just for the sake of it (Sherlock Holmes) but Dredd actually uses it to engross the audience further into the story. I loved the way the cinematography switched up during these scenes, making the drug scenes feel surreal and beautiful at the same time. That, accompanied with the amazing score, really made me feel like i was on a wild thrill ride. I haven't had this much fun at the movies in a while. This year has been a great year for movies. i loved "Prometheus", "Dark Knight Rises" and "Avengers" and even "Looper" but Dredd was the most fun and mind blowing of them all, despite it's simple down to earth story line. In fact I think it was the simplicity of the story that made it so great. It didn't try to have Dredd save the damn world. it was literally like watching John McClane in "Die Hard." It was all about survival!!
Karl Urban was great as Dredd. He really knew how to internalize all the angry emotions of the character and I commend his performance especially since we never got to see his eyes. He always retained a calm but ruthless demeanor. Lena Headey was chilling as Ma-Ma, I'm glad to see her still getting work after her underrated and beloved performance as Sarah Connor in the Terminator TV series (if you haven't seen that show, check it out, you won't regret it!). Olivia Thirlby did a decent job playing the rookie/dredd's side kick. At first I thought she was too young for the role but her character contrasted well with Dredd's character. At times I thought the made her appearance too pretty but she carried the role good enough to make me overlook that.
If you like films such as "Die Hard, Robocop, The Crow, or Darkman" YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS FILM OUT!! It's a true action film masterpiece that put's the Expendables to sleep! This is easily one of the best R rated films to come out in a long time. These days everything is PG-13 just so the studio can sell more tickets and it was like a breathe of fresh air to see all the action and gore done in a way that wasn't gratuitous but servicing to the story and suspenseful atmosphere the film was trying to create for the viewer. I haven't seen violence in an action film done this well since the 80's. Everything about this film is fresh and exciting. The only thing that I can nit pick about was some of the supporting characters (Ma-Ma's henchmen) acting was bit forced but what do you expect from a low budget film? This film is one of the best-low budget films ever made and proof that you don't need hundred's of millions to deliver the goods. i think the reason why people didn't check this out was because folks thought it was a remake of the the Stallone film. My god, how they were wrong! TOO BAD FOR THEM!! Even though in my opinion I feel that a non 3D version of this film won't be as good as the 3D one I'd still recommend it to anyone, whether 3D or 2D. I'm definitely purchasing this when it comes out!
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
I didn't see one trailer for this movie in the theater. I didn't see one commercial on tv either. This movie was not advertised at all. The only reason I gave this movie a chance, was because of yahoo user reviews. I cannot wait to own this on blu ray. Plenty of other more detailed reviews here, but know this...I loved the Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers. This movie did not have the budget those movies did, not even close. The story is not as epic as those movies either. But I had more fun watching this movie, than any other movie in 2012. My girlfriend even liked it better than any blockbuster this year too. It is fast paced. The soundtrack (and I rarely even notice the soundtrack of a movie these days) fits this movie and the pace of it perfectly. For an action film, the acting is above what you would expect. I am not a movie critic so I am going to stop here. I just felt compelled to write SOMETHING here because I saw, loved, and will be owning this bluray when it comes out because of word of mouth. I'm throwing a Dredd party the day I get this in the mail. If you like action films and missed this in the theater, do yourself a favor and give it a chance.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This movie does so much with such a little budget. The creativity really shines with slo-mo and the characters and the violence. Seriously, the violence is beautiful and I've never said that before, you can bet.
On another level it's brilliant because it's an action movie with four distinct and interesting female characters (none of which are a love interest) and that's cool.
In a world with three comic book movies a season this one stands out and deserves attention. And a sequel. And a franchise.
So go watch it.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
I had the opportunity to watch this movie in 3D and non-3D before its run in the theaters was over. I watched the 3D version first and I was blown away with the ultra-slow motion and 3D accentuations. The director did a wonderful job of portraying really brutal scenes artistically with the use of the slo-mo and 3D. While it's true the story is similar to another recent release, The Raid, Dredd has enough differences to stand on its own (futuristic wasteland, Judges, sci-fi elements, and no martial arts). While I am a comic book fan, I've never really read any Dredd comics but I'm familiar with his character. Karl Urban does a fantastic job as Dredd and does so without ever removing his helmet. Kudos! This movie is a pure action flick so be prepared for a lot of shotouts and over the top action. It was a shame so few went out to watch this film as it will definitely become a cult classic. After watching the 3D version I decided to watch it again but in 2D for two reasons, 1) I really enjoyed the movie and wanted to see it again and 2) I wanted to support the film financially in hopes that a sequel would be considered/made. So yes, I enjoyed the film enough to rescreen it and I was hoping/wanting a sequel to see where the directors would take these characters. As for the 2D version, I liked it as well. The slo-mo was still breath-taking, but this movie truly needs to be viewed in 3D, period. I will definitely pre-order this combo and I recommend you do the same. :)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
This has to be one of the most overlooked films of 2012. It's like Robocop mixed with Die Hard and it's incredible. The art style is incredible and the actors do a great job committing to their roles throughout. It is fun, you should watch.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
I heard good things about this movie, and now I see why. It got right to the point and gave us what we wanted; a good ol' fashioned shoot-em-up action flick. It's much better than the 1995 Stallone version. Judge Dredd is very sinister, yet bad ass. While investigating a homicide in the 200-story slum tower block Peach Trees, Judge Dredd and rookie Judge Anderson are locked in by Ma-Ma. (Ma-Ma is the dealer of an addictive new drug called SLO-MO) They must fight their way thru the building and execute Ma-Ma's men. Judgment is coming. I highly recommend DREDD!!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The plot was simple which goes to show you that you don't need to over complicate a story to enjoy a movie. I hope they make another film.